News Releases

December 28, 2012

Vermont Students Receive High Marks - First-Ever National Vocabulary Report

Vermont’s vocabulary scores by students at both the fourth grade and eighth grade levels are well above the national averages, according to data released by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). The newly released report focuses on how well students are able to use words to gain meaning from the passages they read.

The Nation’s Report Card results analyzed vocabulary skills tested in 2009 and 2011. This new report revealed how students’ understanding of words relates to their reading comprehension. Vermont students demonstrated that they continue to build strong vocabularies and passage-comprehension skills.

“Helping students to increase their vocabulary and to feel comfortable using words in various contexts is paramount,” said Commissioner of Education, Armando Vilaseca. “There is significant research in the field supporting a link between vocabulary and comprehension.”

The results showed that vocabulary scores for Vermont fourth and eighth grade students from the 2011 NAEP reading assessment continue to outpace the national average. Fourth grade students scored a 224 while the national average was 217. Eighth grade students scored 274 while the nation scored a 263. Only four states (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Montana and North Dakota) had higher scores than Vermont in eighth grade vocabulary.

For the first time in 2009, NAEP integrated a new vocabulary measure into the reading assessment. The intent of the new measure was to assess vocabulary in order to capture students’ ability to use their understanding of words to acquire meaning from the passages they were reading. “A reader may understand the meaning of ‘acute’ in the context of mathematics to describe the angles of triangle, but may not have encountered the word used to describe human emotions, as in ‘acute embarrassment’,” according to NAEP. “Having a sense of words that is sufficiently flexible helps readers extend their understanding of the word and understand its use in a new context.” The Nation’s Report Card can be found online:

“Students use their knowledge of words in order to understand what they are reading, to identify ideas and themes,” said Commissioner Vilaseca. “Summer reading programs continue to support the good work that is done throughout the school year, keeping our children’s minds active supports strong reading and comprehension skills.”

Source: Department of Education
Last Updated at: December 28, 2012 08:39:57